It didn’t take long for word to spread that the new three-quarter-mile extension of the Virginia Corridor paved trail opened for public use Friday morning. By the 9 a.m. hour, the stretch from Bowen Avenue north to Woodrow avenue was shared by a steady flow of traffic – a mix of bicyclists, runners and walkers.
The opening came after months of delays. City officials have said the surface of the north-south trail was too rough after workers ground it in the fall to reduce its east-west slope and then coated it with a slurry seal.
From the slurry, there’s a visible surface rippling to parts of the new extension that isn’t on the older sections. But several people enjoying the trail Friday said it didn’t bother them a bit.
“There’s just the slightest increase in vibration compared to the other parts of the trail,” said Dianne Hinton, out bicycling with friend Sandy Volfi. “The most important thing was to get it open.”
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“I love it,” said Volfi, adding that she’d much rather ride on the city’s paved trails than on streets or dirt paths.
Mayor Garrad Marsh and his wife, Dallas, were among those out taking a morning stroll between Bowen and Woodrow. “I do notice the slurry they put on is a little rougher than the other end of the trail, but I think it’s quite adequate and I’m just happy that it’s finally open. It’s taken a while. This will be a great addition – now we need to get over Standiford.”
Deputy City Manager Brent Sinclair also was giving the new extension a look. The trail surface should be fine for the walkers, runners and cyclists who make up the great majority of its users, he said. He noted that Seattle, which has an incredible network of bike trails, the pavement has a built-in, patterned texture to it because it helps bike tires grip the surface, especially in wet conditions.
“Roller skaters and roller bladers, we don’t see too many of them anymore,” he said. “Certainly skateboards are in, somewhat, but they may not like a smooth trail or a flat trail like this. I think they would prefer something that has more relief and more challenge.”
This is the sixth piece of the Virginia Corridor to open, Sinclair said, and phase seven, which would bring it just short of Standiford Avenue, already is in the works.
“Gradually we’re going to go north, we’re going to go to Standiford, up to Pelandale, all the way to the county line as time and money permit,” he said, noting that it may not necessarily “be the same kind of trail.”
Deke Farrow: (209) 578-2327